With today being World Ballet Day I thought it would be a great opportunity to share my own ballet journey and what I have learned so far. To get straight into it, I decided I wanted to follow ballet, and dance in general, as a career around the age of 14 (even though I fell in love with ballet long before that). At the time I really wanted to become a professional ballet dancer, however, at the age of 14, I was already very much behind in the world of professional ballet.
Regardless of being behind, I decided to work with the time I had left because I really did love ballet. For the next four years, I am proud to say that I worked hard, and I mean hard. -Could I have worked harder? Yes, because you can always work harder.- Anyway, by the time I was 18 and getting ready to go off to uni, I had improved massively. Just not enough to go off to a really good professional ballet school (and that was okay). I did get accepted to a few dance academies/universities here in the UK, however, for various reasons I decided to go with the Royal Academy of Dance. I wasn’t thrilled about it at the time, however, looking back I realise I couldn’t have made a better choice.
So I moved to London and started my degree (BA in Ballet Education). I was so motivated and ready to work super hard and learn and improve and better my technique and truly make the most of my degree. At some point throughout my degree, my motivation just started going downhill. I had back pain for a whole year which really didn’t help and I just found myself questioning my every decision. WHY was I doing this? Did I REALLY love ballet this much? What was I hoping to do in the future after graduating? I had nooooo idea. I was so lost and with all that I also lost my motivation to work hard in my ballet classes. I started off my journey with a bright fire burning inside of me and a desire to do better every single day. That fire slowly started to die out. It was something I had never experienced before until that point and in that moment I really did wonder if that was the end.
I had worked so hard the last few years and I was truly so passionate about ballet. I loved everything about it. I loved to be on stage and perform, I loved working hard and waking up with sore muscles, I loved the challenge of always having to do better and I loved seeing all my hard work pay off as I -very slowly- improved over time. I was truly a bunhead. And there wasn’t anything more heartbreaking than seeing myself lose interest in something I had dedicated my youth to and was planning to dedicate my future to as well.
To make this long story short, at some point between my last few months at uni, graduation and the summer that followed, I got my spark back. And we all know that a spark is enough to light up a whole fire.
I think I lost my interest in ballet because I couldn’t be a professional ballet dancer. Today, I don’t even desire that anymore. I am so grateful for going with the uni I did because by the end of my degree I had my teaching qualification and I was ready to get a job and ballet started bringing joy in my life once again.
Today I finally understand that you are never too old to be better at ballet (or anything in fact). Professional or not, it doesn’t matter. I am a proud ballet teacher and a passionate dancer at heart and I want to do better with every class I take or teach. I want to be a better teacher for my students and I want to be a better ballet dancer, for myself. So to all my fellow ballet teachers out there, remember why you fell in love with this amazing art form and don’t ever let your fire die out. Do not get caught up in doing the same thing class after class and year after year. Be passionate and curious and never stop educating yourself. Don’t ever stop pushing yourself and your students to do better and of course, don’t stop taking classes yourself. Your body is your tool, take good care of it and always work on improving your technique. I know that finding the time and the space to take a class (especially if you don’t have your own studio), can be tricky but just know that even one class is better than nothing.
Happy World Ballet Day to all the ballet lovers all over the world!